Article Date: 7/1/2005

contact lens economics
Practice Marketing: Don't Leave Them Asking "So What?"

If your main marketing message focuses on your qualifications, expertise or technology, I'd guess that it's severely underperforming or at best, anemic. Consider these two non-contact lens examples to learn why:

1. "Our mechanics are specially trained to fix your car using the best tools."

2. "When our mechanics fix your car, you'll have the peace of mind knowing that it was done correctly and your car is safe to drive."

Which ad would you respond to when your car breaks down? Assuming everything else is equal (location, price, etc.) the second message is likely your choice. While subtly espousing the talents of the mechanic, this message also gives the reader a reason why those talents are important and the benefits of those talents.

Marketers refer to this as the "What's in it for me?" (WIIFM) message. When we counsel our clients, we refer to it as the "So what?" statement.

So What?

How does this apply to contact lens marketing? If you choose to declare, "We have years of experience fitting contact lenses," you also need to include a "So what-WIIFM" statement. Don't assume that your prospective patients can draw their own conclusions about why "years of experience" are important. Do it for them.

Not following through can lead to a negative assumption. "Sure, they have years of experience — that means they're more expensive than anyone else." Or, "Years of experience? That's a code phrase for an old doctor with out-of-date equipment."

A better message clearly and concisely tells your prospects not only what's in it for them, but also why they should respond to your message.

For example, "With years of experience fitting contact lenses, our state-of-the-art facility ensures that your contact lenses will be comfortable and that you'll have great vision. Those are only a few reasons why you should call our office."

Similarly, simply stating "We specialize* in hard-to-fit patients" without a follow-up can lead to, "Oh yeah, another expensive specialist. I'm an easy patient and I'm not paying extra for some hot-shot so-called specialist!"

Instead, steer the prospective patient to the desired result — contacting your practice — by saying, "Our doctors graciously welcome simple fits or complex fits. That means that you'll have the assurance that your contact lenses will fit perfectly and will give you great vision and comfort."

Benefits and Rewards

As I've written before, the thrust of your marketing message as it relates to the WIIFM message should be the emotional benefits and rewards that accompany wearing contact lenses. Freedom, self-confidence and self-assuredness are usually stronger drivers than the "vision and comfort" statements I've used here.

Focusing on yourself is easy and often insidiously slips into your marketing message. For this reason, I recommend showing your proposed marketing to others and asking, "What's in this message that would make you respond affirmatively?" If they hesitate, then your "so what" statement is either missing or needs bolstering.

Fill in the Blanks

Don't leave out the "So what" or "WIIFM" concepts for patients to fill in the blanks.  If you do, your marketing is sure to suffer.

*Note: Some states have restrictions on using terms like "specialize," "specialty," etc.

Dr. Gerber is the president of the Power Practice® – a company offering consulting, seminars and software solutions for optometrists. You can reach him at (800) 867-9303 or DrGerber@PowerPractice.com.

 



Contact Lens Spectrum, Issue: July 2005